|Becoming Disabled – Temporality of Disability in England between WWII and 21st Century|
|The perception of who is and is not defined as ‘disabled’ is contingent upon social policies, relationships, institutions and environments, which change over time. The extent to which people with impairments are included or marginalised from social and public spaces has influenced social perceptions of disability, and self-identity. In addition, the emergence of the disabled people’s movement, and social model ideas, in the late twentieth century has provided new forms of social and cultural capital from which to construct and invest in new forms of disability identity.
This paper explores the ways in which disability revealed itself in people’s lives and how this impacted on their identity. It shows how public policies contributed to the processes of making disability known in public spaces. It discusses the ways public policies impact the construction of private lives and identities via structuring social spaces, relationships and individual life course expectations.
Drawing on the biographical material from my recently co-authored book, this paper discusses the ways in which three generations of young disabled people (born in the 1940s, 1960s and 1980s) negotiated and resisted institutional definitions of disability. It shows how the various cultural scripts and resources, available in the different historical times, framed their choices of ‘coming out’ and adopting a positive disability identity.|